Famously died resisted the Militia Act of 1797. The British Army had become weakened by conflict in Europe and the Act required 6000 men to be drawn by ballot in Scotland. The miners of Tranent resisted and Jackie Crookston led the villagers, carrying a large drum, which she beat to the cry of Nae Militia! as she approached the cavalry troop who had been sent to ensure the law was upheld. Despite attempts at mediation, the troops charged the crowd, with swords drawn, causing the protest to turn to riot and the army to further escalate the violence, killing at least twenty people, including Crookston and other women and children, in an attempt to clear the streets.
A statue featuring Crookston was unveiled in the Civic Square of Tranent in 1995 to commemorate the incident.